Categotry Archives: changing mindsets

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Selfish Christianity

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought, theological questions

Cred where cred is due…Co-heir sparked my thoughts with what he wrote here…and this post below is what came out. 🙂

I’ve mentioned numerous times here that my rather broad church background (from liturgical to evangelical to charismatic) includes my family’s involvement in the Word of Faith movement–which for some is associated not so much with the concept of faith it teaches as the “prosperity gospel” it promotes. This particular message receives a great deal of flack, and is caricatured as a grouping of well-dressed preachers who support their extravagant lifestyles by talking people into giving their money to them–citing Scripture to say that God will return their donations 100-fold.

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The Elusive Search for It

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought

Seems like everyone these days is looking for It. And not really finding It.

On all the TV talent and dance shows, the judges are looking to see who has It. On American Idol this year, it sure seemed like Adam Lambert had It. He stood (literally) head and shoulders above the rest of the pack, and was obviously the judges’ favorite. But he came in second.

A few years ago there was a clever marketing ploy about a new invention they would only call “It.” “It” was supposedly going to be one of those monumental inventions that would change our lives forever and take us a quantum leap forward. Turns out that “It” was the Segway. It didn’t change our lives. It didn’t replace the car or the bicycle. Seems today the Segway is mainly known as that funny-looking thing the mall security guards ride now instead of golf carts. Or that thing George W. Bush fell off of one time. (Wasn’t that great publicity?) Guess “It” wasn’t It, after all.

What’s interesting is that I have spent most of my Christian life looking for It, also. It’s hard to describe, but for many of us Christians, It represents the cutting edge of “what God is doing”, or the catalyst for revival, or that revelation that makes us more enlightened or empowered than the church down the street, or that revival that instantly makes our church the biggest in town. The magic pill that makes Christianity a cinch. You know…”It.”

When my family connected with the Word of Faith movement when I was a kid, I thought we’d found It. It was going to solve all our problems, help us live in victory, help us never get things stolen from us, help us never get sick, and be rich. We just needed to apply It to our lives. But after about 20 years of being exposed to It…I couldn’t help but notice that most of the people going to the conventions all that time were not rich, and still got sick. What’s more, we seemed to struggle with materialism and pride, because It was all about Us and what We needed and wanted. But people still believed that It was going to change things for them, and still gave their money to those who were preaching It. After awhile of trying to apply It during an extended time of trial and testing, and realizing that all It really did for me was add to my fatigue. I still place a high value on faith. But I guess what I thought was It, wasn’t.

When I first experienced speaking in tongues, I thought I’d found It. It empowered me and strengthened me with God’s power. It made me feel sorry for those sorry souls who didn’t have It, who didn’t believe in It, who thought It was from the devil. But even though (don’t misunderstand) I treasure the presence and guidance of Holy Spirit in my life…”It” wasn’t a magic pill that instantly freed me from my struggles with sin and selfishness. And It didn’t make me better than any other Christian.

Then when I experienced renewal and holy laughter, I thought I’d found It. It was great! I truly believed this was the Next Wave, the Next Big Thing, because It really was wonderful. It was God’s way of healing us of all the bad stuff that was on the inside, and for awhile It stopped the church people from fighting each other. It’s hard to argue when you can’t stop laughing. But after awhile, I noticed that we got kind of prideful because we had It and other churches didn’t. I noticed that when God wanted to take us to other places, like repentance and the fear of the Lord, we didn’t want to go. We just wanted Him to keep making us laugh. And I also noticed that whatever this was, It didn’t just make everything better. People got up off the floor, and were soon just as ornery and deceitful as before. I know people have mixed feelings about this, but overall I think God was doing something. It just wasn’t It.

When The Wild One and I learned about worshiping prophetically, and about dance and banners and all that good stuff, we thought we’d found It. For awhile, we were like kids in a candy store; worship became an adventure, and we never knew for sure what was going to happen next. It was what God Was Doing, and truly we experienced transformation, along with others who experienced this with us. It was not only going to usher in the Last Great Move Of God and The Great Harvest of Souls. But…over time, instead of worshiping God, we found ourselves worshiping It–and when we did that, we forgot for awhile what worship truly was. We found that people liked to try and manipulate It for their advantage, and manipulate Us right along with It. And again, It wasn’t a magic pill. So while there have been times when we truly encountered God, and would never trade what we learned, and while this will always be part of us…it turns out that wasn’t It, either.

When we learned about inner healing, we thought we found It. All we had to do was go back into our past and see where we had been wounded, where we made inner vows and judgments, and repent for those, and forgive people, and we would be all Better. When we got over all our stuff, we’d live in freedom. And don’t get me wrong–we have absolutely experienced transformation when God showed us these wounded parts of our soul and helped us deal with them. And we’ve seen it help others as well. But over time, we also noticed that not everyone necessarily wanted to get Better right then, and we got in a lot of trouble when we started digging around uninvited. We also noticed that when people got too introspective for too long, they also became very self-absorbed, and counseling just became the new addiction. We forgot for awhile that part of the way Jesus heals us is when we focus on helping others. And…it turns out that getting Better is actually a lifelong process, not a magic pill. So while I wouldn’t trade this for anything, inner healing wasn’t It.

Time after time, I thought I’d found It. When I learned about spiritual warfare and territorial spirits; when I learned about prayer walking and friendship evangelism; when I found out God was restoring the Apostles to the church (which He is, but it’s just not most of the ones currently claiming to be Them)…all of these were It. I even thought house church was It!

But…none of them were. Not really.

So…where is It? Where could It be?

It’s only been in recent days that it’s occurred to me…I was figuring the whole thing wrong. It finally dawned on me…

There is no It.

I was chasing the elusive magic pill, when what I was really looking for…is a Person.

He is a “Him.”

All that time, I thought I was in pursuit of God, but really I was sort of chasing His shadow. The things I thought were It were quite often legitimate things God was doing, but I was chasing those things, not the Person. Kind of like going into God’s bedroom just to play with His toys.

So after all that time of looking for It, and not finding It…I have given up the search.

So now, when someone comes to me all excited about the Next Big Thing going on, the revival over here, the move of God over there…I no longer worry about what I might be missing. Not saying it’s all fake or anything…just saying I know now that whatever that is, it isn’t It.

Because I’m not looking for It anymore. These days, I’m happy just following after Him.

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Lose the Bathwater, Keep the Baby

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought, theological questions

Two things you should know about me:

  1. I’m a student of human nature.
  2. I have a tendency to see patterns.

These two things combined can get me in a lot of trouble sometimes, because sometimes they lead me to do the math when it would be better to let things ride and not draw conclusions. But at other times they help me have some insight, to make sense of things going on around me, and to know what, if anything, I can do about them.

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Not What We Believe, But How We Believe

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought

Ellen Haroutunian recently posted a thought-provoking piece about the church’s subtle shift in the focus of our worship, how we have made an idol of orthodoxy rather than following the living Christ. Worth the time to read, but my mind has taken a rabbit trail on a few of her thoughts…particularly when she shares how easily tempers can flare when someone even suggests we have a problem in this area. Here’s a snippet from her post:

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"ReJesus" Review Part 1: A Conversation with Michael Frost

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Categories: books, changing mindsets, church, Jesus

As mentioned previously, in conjunction with reviewing the book ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church…I had the opportunity to chat with one of the book’s authors, Michael Frost. Michael serves as Vice-Principal of Morling College in Sydney, Australia, and is the director of the Tinsley Institute at the college. Besides co-authoring two books with Alan Hirsch (ReJesus is their second collaboration), Michael has written numerous books on his own, Exiles probably being the most well-known. He is also the founder of the missional community “smallboatbigsea”, and travels and speaks internationally.

Distance being an issue, we opted to converse by online chat. Below is the transcript of our conversation. Due to the length of the conversation, I’ve chosen to break the review into two posts. My actual review of the book will be posted tomorrow.
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me: Thanks again for agreeing to chat with me. I count it a real privilege.

Michael: Not at all. I appreciate the opportunity very much.

me: This first question is sort of in two parts. You have now co-written two books with Alan Hirsch—The Shaping of Things to Come and now ReJesus. First—how did you and Alan come to collaborate on the first one; and second—what prompted you to collaborate again on this one?

Michael: Alan and I have been dear friends for about 15 years. We launched a missional church planting training program about a decade ago and Shaping was basically our write-up of the curriculum we used in that course. Quite frankly, we simply expected to sell a few hundred copies every year to the participants in the program. To find that it has become an international best seller was a huge surprise to us. Somehow, from way down here in Australia, and unbeknown to us, we were tapping into a global conversation. In fact we feel quite privileged to have been able to contribute to that conversation through that book. As for ReJesus, well we thought it was the logical next step. If Shaping was exploring a missional ecclesiology we thought it natural to then explore a missional Christology, since we had posited the formula that Christology must lead to missiology and then to ecclesiology. We are currently writing our third book.

me: That’s pretty amazing, watching it take off like that…I read Shaping at just the right time in my journey, and it verbalized a lot of stuff I was already feeling.

Michael: Amazing how many people say that! The most common compliment I get about that book is that it resonated with what people were thinking/feeling but hadn’t yet verbalized. It’s a great blessing to give words and concepts to others peoples’ intuitions.

me: And considering how revolutionary it must sound in some circles (“Christendom is dead?”) 🙂 …that positive response must have been pretty encouraging as well…

Michael: Well, I don’t want to overstate how positive the response was. There were plenty of people who hated it. My favorite negative response I got was that Alan and I were “ecclesiastical terrorists”!! What did excite me though was that it was church planters, missionaries, youth pastors, welfare workers etc who really picked up on the book. In other words, the real missionaries in our midst knew what we were talking about. It seemed that the denominational leaders of church bureaucrats and large-church pastors who were incensed by it. Interestingly, it seems even those guys are coming around somewhat these days.

me: Let’s talk a moment about the word “reJesus”, because I’ve noticed a few people have had some mixed reactions to the title of the book when I mention it to them. For the benefit of those who haven’t yet read the book—what does “reJesus” mean?

Michael: Yeah, some people have thought it means “regarding Jesus” as in re:Jesus. But we used the term to refer to reJesusing the church, that is, refocusing the church around its Founder and less around instititionalism, bureaucracy and the latest marketing strategies. It’s an idealistic book in many respects. It urges readers to explore what Jesus actually had in mind when calling people to follow him. Did he have in mind the enormous global corporation we have now? Or was his radical plan to unleash an organic movement of “little Jesuses” into the world to infect that world with the values and message of his new kingdom?

me: So…reJesus means more of a re-turning to Jesus, rather than “re-imagining” Him or “re-inventing” Him? (That’s some of the misunderstanding I’m getting from folks here.)

Michael: Interesting! I hadn’t had that reaction. No, it’s not about reinventing Jesus. It’s about allowing the person and message of Jesus to re-infect our churches: to assess everything we do on the basis of his original vision and example. In other words, would Jesus be comfortable as a member of many of our churches? What would need to change? What needs to be abandoned and what needs to be taken up if we took seriously our role as followers of the radical messiah, Jesus? Alan and I begin the book talking about a day we spent visiting St Peters in the Vatican and asking ourselves, where is the wild, radical Nazarene to be found among all this wealth and religious paraphernalia?

me: In the book, you and Alan talk about the tendencies we humans have to picture Jesus according to the parts of His nature we most gravitate toward—to sort of co-opt Jesus and frame Him according to our image, or our desires. Why do you think we do this?

Michael: I guess we do that with everyone we meet. We have certain categories and boxes into which we seem to need to put people and it’s easier to make sense of a neater, simpler world when we do it. I suppose it’s no wonder that we’d do it with Jesus. The other reason, though, has to do with the radical claims he makes and the uncompromising stance he takes. It can be so confronting that it’s just easier to box him into our preferred category and leave him there: gentle Jesus; charismatic Jesus; theologian Jesus. But every time you think you’ve got Jesus boxed he slips out of our grasp (if we take the Gospels seriously) and escapes our attempts to tame him or domesticate him. But this presupposes we are spending some serious time in the Gospels, something I’m not sure we can assume about many Christians. It’s as if the Gospels are seen as elementary stuff. We learn the stories of Jesus in Sunday School as kids and then we graduate to something deeper or richer. But the fact is the gospels are the deep rich vein of life-giving blood for the church. We can’t “move on” from them and simply allow Jesus to remain a caricature to us. Scott Peck called the Gospels “the best kept secret in Christianity.” We can’t continue to allow that to be the case.

me: I definitely know what you mean about the Sunday school versions of Jesus. Having grown up in church, a lot of my picture of Jesus had already been framed before I was old enough to read the Bible…and then, of course, for many years, I let my own formed picture of Him shape how I read Scripture, instead of the other way around.

Michael: That’s a great way to put it. Neither Alan nor I grew up in the church, so perhaps that freed us to come to the gospels with less preconceptions. Having said that, I grew up in a lapsed Catholic family and Alan’s family is Jewish. How odd that the two of us should end up writing about the wild and uncompromising Jesus who shatters all religious convention and ushers in the end of religious institutionalism. We refer to Jacques Ellul a few times in ReJesus. He reminded us that Jesus never instituted a new religion. He signaled the end of religion. Isn’t it bizarre that we’ve spent two centuries building a new religion in Jesus’ name?

me: You and Alan spend some time debunking some of these inaccurate images we have of Jesus; yet some reviewers of the book have expressed an opinion that you are a bit vague in your descriptions of the true, Biblical Jesus. Like “these are the wrong pictures”, but what is the right one? Was this vagueness intentional, or do you feel perhaps this misses the point you were trying to make?

Michael: I’m dismayed by that criticism. We certainly spend some time early in the book looking at false or unhelpful caricatures of Jesus, but the later part of the book, and the final chapter in particular, explores what kind of faith community Jesus built. In those sections we mine the Gospels for the distinct or unique mission of Jesus as he presented it to his followers. Maybe some reviewers don’t read much past p.50. If readers are looking for our replacement caricature of Jesus then they definitely miss the mark. We’re suggesting you can’t tie Jesus down to a one page description of his character and lifestyle.

me: The third chapter of the book—“ReJesus for the Church and the Organization”—was one of the most impacting chapters for me personally. It talks about how, in order to survive over time, any movement (including Christianity) must continually return to the heart and principles of its founder—in our case, Jesus—and how the very structures set in place to perpetuate a movement eventually dilute it, and so must constantly cycle between dismantling and reforming. This gave me a great amount of context for what we see happening in the church right now, with so many people drifting from institutional forms, getting back to basics, attempting to follow Jesus in a more simple manner. It’s part of a healthy cycle. What I’d like to know is…do you have any specific examples of church communities that are purposely “rebooting” in this way, attempting to “reJesus”, and if so, how is it playing out? How are these communities changing?

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Hijacking the Mission

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought, missional

All through March in house church, we’ve themed our meetings around “the mission of Christ”, or missio Dei, whatever term you use to describe it. We’ve been pondering the idea that God has been at work in the earth before we ever got here, that He is working in people’s lives before we encounter them, and will remain after we leave. We’ve talked about how we can participate in God’s mission, and we’ve encouraged one another not to spend this time just trying to “find our place” in the mission, but to try and tap into the heart of it.

In thinking and studying about this, I’m seeing how important it is that we absorb this simple truth, that mission belongs to God, not to the church. Why is it so important to make this distinction?

I’m glad you asked. 🙂

I’ve become more and more convinced that over the centuries, the church has taken ownership of the mission, and the fruits of this are not good. We have forgotten even the meaning of the term many of us use to describe Jesus’ parting instructions to His followers–the “Great Commission”. Commission literally means mission with. We have forgotten that Jesus intended us to be on this mission with Him, not on a mission for Him. And the implications of this are far-reaching. It’s not just about ministers suffering burnout because they took too much responsiblity on their shoulders. When we take ownership of this mission, it changes our whole approach to it.

Let me share just a bit of what happens when the church takes undue ownership of God’s mission. See if you concur:
  1. When the church owns the mission, it becomes a task, assignment and agenda, rather than a lifestyle or heartcry. When we stop seeing God on the mission, we view the Great Commission as our own assignment, our mandate from God. It becomes our task which we must fulfill to hasten the return of Christ. In other words–it’s all up to us. I believe this whole marketing approach to evangelism is based on this wrong mentality, where we see non-believers as targets rather than as people for whom Christ died. We bring this agenda into every relationship, and don’t think for a minute the non-Christians around us don’t sense it. Just like so many MLM schemes, our friends become our prospects. This is what happens when mission becomes our job, when we own it as an assignment rather than participating in something God is already doing.
  2. When the church owns the mission, we perceive that the world’s salvation actually depends on us–that we are the ones who bring the message of Christ to them, and that only the church can introduce people to Christ. We own the theology, truth, and method that the world must adopt in order to be saved; and we see ourselves as the only ones who can bring it to them. I’m not talking about adopting universalism here; I’m talking about who owns the truth. When we take this stance of self-importance, it is actually very dangerous, because in effect, we are supplanting the Savior, and making ourselves the mediator between God and man–a job the Bible makes clear belongs to only one Man, “the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 2:5) God owns the truth; we do not.
  3. When the church owns the mission, we begin to control the mission rather than participating in it. We set the rules of engagement; we decide when, and how, the good news will be shared, and we decide who is qualified to share it. I’m convinced that this mentality underlies our entire system of ordination (which I think we’ve largely misunderstood) and the hierarchy forms of leadership we’ve developed; and in fact, the entire idea of the church as an institution. As an institution, we perceive ourselves to be the guardians of the mission, the lone outpost for the dispensing of truth. We cover over these control issues by citing the dangers of error and heresy, and the need to protect people–and that sounds reasonable. But if we’re being honest, mostly we try to control it because we think we own it. (Jesus actually dealt with this kind of thing a little bit in the gospels; you can see how He approached it in Luke 9:46-50.)
It seems to me that this seemingly small error in our thinking–that mission belongs to the church rather than to God–has actually caused us to shape mission in a way that Jesus never intended. Instead of participating in something God is already doing–we have effectively hijacked the mission.

I say this so assertively because adjusting this seemingly small error in our thinking also has far-reaching implications. Simply acknowledging that mission belongs to God, that we belong to Him, and that we are participants in what He’s doing, has put this whole thing in a new light for me. I am seeing God, the church, and the world differently. I feel a fresh desire to get involved in it, and I feel a freedom to enjoy it, rather than a drive to perform, or a compulsion to control. And so I feel this is a very important shift that needs to take place in the church. We need to give up our ownership of the Great Commission, and remember that Jesus is still here doing it. He even said so: in Matthew’s version of the Great Commission (Matt. 28), Jesus ended by saying, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” He didn’t just say that to comfort us; He said it to remind us that He was still engaged in mission, that we weren’t going it alone.

I say we’ve “hijacked” the mission–but actually, that’s impossible, if you think about it. Yes, we’ve gotten off track with it–but Jesus never yielded up ownership of it. In fact, that might explain why there are so many things He does in the earth that are off our radar–things that fly in the face of the church’s protocols. Just like He did things that offended the Pharisees.

Think about that one a moment. Selah. 🙂

Maybe it’s time we get off this mission-ownership kick we’ve been on for centuries, and take a good look at what God has been up to while we were making up rules and protocols. We might be surprised at what’s happening out there.

I know it’s surprising me.

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Why We Should Sort of Take It Easy on the Pastors

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought, Rantings

For the past few days I’ve been pondering the whole clergy-laity thing, and the idea of leadership within the context of the institutional church. A couple of days ago, I invited the readers to discuss whether human church leadership is Biblical–and there was a lot of very helpful input and insight left in the comments (thanks!). Yesterday, I weighed in on the conversation in this separate post.

Today, because I think/hope it will lend perspective…I have some thoughts about the abuse of authority in the church–from the leaders’ standpoint.

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Destiny, Overdone (part 2: Traveling Light)

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought, My Story

In sharing some of my own story in my previous post, I shared how I grew up with a sort of “promise child” mentality, and how that caused me to have a warped view of destiny and calling. In this post, I’ll be talking about how God has adjusted my perspective. And forgive me in advance if I talk a lot about myself in this post; please know that I’m just processing some personal stuff, and letting you in on it. 🙂

After re-reading the last post, I can really see a need for a “part 2” (which I was going to do anyway). There really needs to be some clarification here. So let me start with that.

I think in some way, all of us have a desire to reach for greatness. It’s my belief that it’s part of our physical and spiritual DNA, because we were created in God’s image. It is why we dream, and why the enemy of our soul works so hard to suppress those dreams. But I think we get confused about what “greatness” looks like, and we set up these crazy standards for comparing ourselves with one another. We somehow get the idea that greatness can be assessed by having a certain set of skills or gifts, or by attaining fame, or by having any number of achievements, or by belonging to the “elite”, or what have you. Just like the posts I wrote recently about the idea of equality…”greatness” becomes a measure of comparison that suggests one person is better than others, instead of a character quality that informs our actions. And so with that mentality, when you load up a young person’s psyche with the idea that they are “special” and destined for greatness, it can really mess with their perspective. And that’s sort of how it happened with me. All the affirmation might have simply been for encouragement, but somehow it came across to me that either people thought I was better than others–or that I needed to be. That’s what I mean by great expectations; and that’s part of what informed my sense of destiny.

Of course, in growing up and getting knocked around a bit, eventually I learned that I wasn’t any better than anyone else. In fact, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that my sinful, arrogant, selfish self was nowhere near the image I was trying to live up to. And that filled me with an incredible amount of shame. Countless times, I felt like I’d forfeited my “destiny” by my own brokenness, like I’d failed God and everyone else, and would never become who I was “meant” to be.

Remember the 2000 U.S. elections, between George W. Bush and Al Gore–how the election came down to a few hundred votes in Florida, and how it took over a month and a Supreme Court decision before Bush was declared the winner? I wanted Bush to win, but I felt very sorry for Al Gore. I noticed that throughout his campaign he’d talked about his senator father, and how he’d been sort of groomed for this moment in history. You could tell he believed with all his heart that he was destined to be President–and when he didn’t win, for awhile he acted like he didn’t even know who he was anymore, like his whole identity had been attached to one moment that never arrived. This is a good example of what it is like to feel like you have blown your destiny.

So when God began to get hold of my perspective on this whole thing…you can imagine how freeing it was.

First, He began to reshape my performance mentality (which I think most of us struggle with, actually), and I began to embrace the idea that my identity was not in what I did or what I accomplished, but that my identity came from being God’s child. That although doing good has a reward, the Father delighted in me because I existed, and I could do nothing to make Him love me any more or any less. This is something I’m still getting into my soul; it takes awhile. 🙂 But this is freeing me from the burden of “great expectations.”

Second, He allowed me to experience deep failure. He let me spin the wheels of my religious thinking until I ran out of gas. In going through an extended season where no amount of praying and strategizing caused any visible change, I learned the futility of trying to do things on my own. I began learning that I am not responsible for what I cannot control, and therefore I do not need to try to control everything. This took a great weight off my shoulders.

And now, my picture of destiny and calling is changing. As I look at my life and see (like so many of us) that my journey looks nothing like I thought it would, sometimes there’s a sense of regret and remorse, and that voice that tells me “you failed” starts whispering in my ear. But when I can also look and see how much God’s hand has guided me over these years, how much healing has transpired, how hard times have shaped me, and how much blessing there has been along the way–I can’t simply write off all these years as lost. I see my beautiful family, I see the passion of the dream in my son’s eyes, like it was in mine at his age. I hear God’s voice in all this…God’s been working His plan all along, even if it doesn’t look like what I thought. And I realize that maybe destiny isn’t some goal I must achieve, some straight line I must walk flawlessly, or some mystical ship that’s going to come in if I just wait and hope and pray hard enough. Maybe what I’m living out now–maybe this is destiny. The fact that in all the twists and turns of life, and with all the bad choices I’ve made along the way–God has still worked His purposes, and is not finished yet. Maybe, from the standpoint of a believer, destiny is more about what God will do in us than what we will do for God. Maybe destiny is more about God having His way in spite of us, not because of us.

As for calling, and how our destiny ties into what we do with our lives…I see these things in a more relaxed manner nowadays. There are still deep desires God has placed in my heart, things that give me great joy and fulfillment–music being one of them. I’m realizing there is not one “special” thing I must do with this, but many potential things I can do with it. And when I operate out of these God-given desires of the heart, I am walking in part of my calling, and toward my destiny. And as I trust myself to God, I can trust Him to have His way, even if I don’t understand the path from time to time.

I still believe it’s a good thing to seek God for direction for our lives, and I still believe in dreams, and I even believe it’s good to affirm and encourage the young that they are special–as long as “special” means “unique”, not “better”. 🙂 When I talk about the burden of expectations, I’m not suggesting that we have no expectations at all, or no aspirations, or no goals. But when your identity hinges on those expectations, you are driven to pursue them for your validation–you are not free to pursue them for the joy of it. Whatever I do from here on, I don’t want to do it because I have something to prove, but because I love to do it. That, I believe, is the place where life is lived.

If you have lasted this long between the two posts…thank you for mercifully indulging me while I process these rambling thoughts. If I can explain what it means to be free from the “great expectations”–I guess I would say it feels lighter. I’m traveling light.

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Destiny, Overdone (part 1: "Promise Child")

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought, My Story

For a combination of reasons I still don’t quite comprehend, probably going all the way back to the womb…I grew up with a “promise child” mentality. I have had an inflated sense of responsibility for as long as I can remember. I was a perpetual overachiever, was always considered the smartest kid in the class, had an acute sense of conscience bordering on torment, and showed an interest in spiritual things beyond my years. Also, my gift for music blossomed at an early age, which garnered me even more attention. And being an only child (read: my parents’ only shot at successful offspring) couldn’t have done anything but intensified the sense of expectation I felt. It seemed nearly every adult I connected with saw me as “special”, someone destined for some sort of greatness.

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Life-Altering Moments of Truth

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought

I don’t know about you, but looking at my history, I can see certain points where the course of my life was dramatically altered by a “moment of truth.” In other words, I encountered a certain truth or revelation that shifted my paradigm, and after that moment, life looked different for me. Looking back, I can see how my path shifted from that point on.

I think this happens to all of us. Sometimes that “moment of truth” is a revelation from God, or sometimes it’s a wake-up call of something happening of which you were perhaps previously unaware. These moments of truth can be places of great joy, or great devastation and trauma. Either way, your world is rocked when they happen.

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